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Thursday, 31 October 2013

Bring Back The Magic


On my Facebook page I mentioned that October is my favourite month after December (Christmas!), because of Halloween. When I made the comment I hadn’t put too much thought as to why this was the case. A few days later I was chatting to a friend about how books bring a little bit of magic back into our lives—something we lose once out of childhood—and I realised this was why I also love Halloween and Christmas so much.

Like most children, I had a vivid imagination. My cats and I used to fly to the moon in a rocket made of billowed curtains, I would hunt for fairies in my backyard and I taught my stuffed toys important lessons about facts and history—mostly made up, of course. Unfortunately, this sense of imagination, wonder and magic fades as we enter adulthood.

As children, we sang with abandon, danced with arms outstretched, painted swirly, unrecognisable images, and wrote fanciful stories—all without fear of judgement. When we’re older we’re told we can only sing if we’re pitch perfect, dance if no one’s watching, write only if we have a grasp on grammar and draw when we’ve mastered the skill. Which brings me back to why I love Halloween and Christmas. At Christmas time I have no shame. I sing carols off-tune, dance fitfully around half-wrapped presents and I’ll try my hand at baking, decorating—whatever. The best thing? No one judges. It’s a slice of childhood returned.

Similarly, at Halloween, I’ll dress up in ridiculous outfits and no one will point and laugh. I’ll eat handfuls of candy and not apologise for it—or watch my waistline. And I can act superstitious and silly when the lights go down before watching a scary movie.

It’s during these times of freedom that we reconnect with the magic in our lives that was once omnipresent as children. It’s not surprizing then that these are often the times people feel the most happy and carefree. We should all try to retain this magic, even if it’s only at Halloween and Christmas.

Wishing you all a happy Halloween!

Till next time,
Astrid

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Setting the Scene: TV Show Opening Sequences


I was watching Sleepy Hollow the other night, the great new TV series on FOX, and I was super excited to see they have a title sequence. Over the last few years, TV show title sequences have been going the way of the Dodo with the increasing tendency to flash the TV show’s name along with an Inception­-like groan. Whilst I don’t have anything against this method as it allows for precious more minutes to be spent on the actual show, when I saw Sleepy Hollow’s opening sequence I was reminded of how much I enjoyed and missed them.

Title sequences for TV shows are like a book’s cover and blurb: they set the audience’s expectations for tone, genre and mood—an indicator for whether the viewer will enjoy the show. Sleepy Hollow’s opening certainly achieves this with a dark, mysterious and gothic sequence that immediately grabs the audience by the—hopefully not slit—throat and transports them into the creepy small town riddled with secrets called Sleepy Hollow.

I believe a great title sequence can heighten the experience and impression of a TV show. There are many great TV show openings that establish the world of the show within a few short effective minutes, some of my favourites are:

Veronica Mars:


The song, the pace, the snappy cuts, it all helps establish the scene for this hip noir caper set in a modern—2004 modern—day high school.


Game of Thrones:


This gorgeous title sequence introduces the epic fantasy saga with sweeping miniature vistas and rich orchestral music.

Medium:


Ghostly and spine-tingling – just perfect! There’s no mistaking what this show is about.


Did I leave your favourite TV show title sequence off the list? Or do you prefer the recent trend of flashing the show’s name—quick and to the point? I’d love to hear what you think in the comments!